In-House Counsel: “Lawyer, Not Firm Size, Is What Matters”

Jul 10th, 2010 | Uncategorized

An in-house counsel has finally said publicly– in a prepared statement appearing in national media– what so many of us who are marketing boutique and small firms have long known being that it’s not always best to hire a big firm when faced with big exposure.

Quoted in The National Law Journal, an in-house counsel for Sherwin-Williams says he’s staying with his lawyer who has formed a boutique and is leaving the 11-office international law firm Milbank Tweed.

“It’s all about Greg and his abilities, not the fancy firm and its high prices. In our environmental cases, we need people like Greg who put us first and get us the best results. Often, big firms just seem to get in the way of this kind of extremely valuable relationship.”

The Milbank litigation partner said he felt “unbearable tension” between big law firm profits and the needs of clients.

“When companies have been cutting so many employees and budgets, which include legal budgets, I have seen — not just at Milbank, but across the industry — reluctance to adapt to what should be a new model of representing the legal interests of businesses.

“I want to, in this model, connect more closely with my clients and avoid the unbearable tension at times between a big firm profit model and the needs of businesses that are suffering through difficult economic times, whose legal affairs must be managed effectively and efficiently.”

The boutique’s operating formula is going to include a willingness to get paid on contingency or partial contingency, reduced billing rates or performance-based bonuses. Those are tactics we often include when writing marketing plans for law firms competing with national firms.

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